Time to rebuild. Hawaii’s offense has lost most of its best playmakers
BY JASON KANESHIRO
A season of change in the Hawaii football program comes with weighty expectations on one side of the ball and even bigger questions on the other.
The Warrior defense, largely eclipsed by Hawaii’s wildly productive offense during the June Jones era, enters Greg McMackin’s first season as head coach in the lead role.
The offense, meanwhile, must replace most of the playmakers who powered the nation’s highest-scoring attack for the past two years.
“It might be a different role as far as leadership on the team,” said Adam Leonard, part of a heralded linebacker crew that returns two starters. “As far as what we do day in and day out, nothing has changed. Just give 100 percent and work the hardest we can.”
Although the Warriors lost seven starters on defense, experience isn’t an issue for the unit.
They entered camp with nine seniors occupying top spots on the depth chart. Many of the players slated to step in for the departed starters made significant impacts as reserves last season.
Among them sack leader David Veikune and cornerback Ryan Mouton.
Cal Lee, who continues to work with the linebackers, was named defensive coordinator in the offseason, but McMackin will continue to call the plays come game day.
Big holes to fill
Heisman Trophy finalist Colt Brennan and all four starting receivers have left, leaving new offensive coordinator Ron Lee with a cast of relatively untested returnees and newcomers.
Lee, the Warriors receivers coach since 1999, is retaining much of the system the Warriors ran under former coach June Jones and entered this season sorting through the various position battles spread across the depth chart.
“Our defense is such an outstanding defense, we’re getting a good look,” Lee said after a recent practice. “That helps us get better.”